Here's What Was the Hardest Part About Making Barbie
The movie's creators have revealed something they had to pay close attention to while making it.
- Barbie's success wasn't always as obvious as it is now.
- Blending the humor of the film with the seriousness of the issues it tackles was a tall order.
- The tireless efforts of the film's editor came in handy during the final stages of Barbie's production.
Since the release of its first teaser a year ago, Greta Gerwig's Barbie has been the subject of intense buzz. Premiering in mid-summer, just after the SAG-AFTRA strike began, the comedy proved popular with audiences and went on to gross a staggering $1.44 billion in its theatrical run.
With its perfectly executed PR campaign and star-studded cast, it might seem like a walk in the park for Barbie to achieve this level of success and recognition. Indeed, the movie, which tells the story of a famous doll played by Margot Robbie, delivered an immensely entertaining story. However, making the movie wasn't as easy as it might seem.
The Clash of Tones
Although Barbie is a satirical comedy that pokes fun at many social issues such as patriarchy and gender roles, it has a plethora of thought-provoking moments that may make you reflect on your life. And while it looks tidy and appropriate on screen, it was an elaborate task for the filmmakers to achieve a fine balance.
'Because this movie has really serious moments and really huge comedy moments… blending those two things in a way that doesn't feel like whiplash to the audience was the biggest challenge. All the shifts in tone, in the script and in the footage, wrangling that so it all felt like one thing,' Barbie's editor Nick Houy shared in a recent interview.
Attention to Detail
According to Barbie's filmmaker Greta Gerwig, editing was a 'painful' process that they approached responsibly, understanding the nuances of bringing together two polar-opposite narratives. After all, it's the last few percent of the work that the audience sees on the screen.
'Small changes can make huge differences, and it's so much time and it's so much effort, but at the end of the day, [the film is] less than two hours. So… it's a strange house of cards,' she said.
Fortunately, Nick Houy was in control of the editing process all along, which may have made it easier for the filmmakers to keep track of their work.
'Nick would make, every two to three weeks, a compressed watching-dailies thing, kind of "the best of." They were these incredibly pleasurable little movies, and what was really helpful about it was that I guess two and a half, three weeks into it, I was able to sit down with the whole cast and crew and screen it for them, and then they were like, "Oh, this what we're making,"' Gerwig added.
Needless to say, that attention to detail has paid off, as Barbie is a major contender at the upcoming 96th Academy Awards.